[Source International Planned Parenthood Federation]
The United Nations General Assembly Third Committee is one of six main committees at the General Assembly of the United Nations. It deals with human rights, humanitarian affairs and social matters. The Third Committee meets every year in early October and aims to finish its work by the end of November.
The Third Committee is a critical intergovernmental space with the full membership of the United Nations (UN), which agrees on normative standards and frameworks on human rights, gender and sexual and reproductive health and rights. IPPF closely followed the negotiations on intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls, child early and forced marriage (CEFM), women and girls and Covid-19, intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), efforts to end obstetric fistula and trafficking of women and girls.
Despite attempts to weaken and/or risk the longstanding agreements made in Cairo, Beijing and in the Agenda 2030, the vast majority of the UN membership supported the adoption of the texts as negotiated. The Member States showed commitment to upholding the principles of gender equality, preventing and combating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), fulfilling women and girls’ rights, including SRHR, as demonstrated in the adoption of all gender-related resolutions and in the six separate cross-regional statements delivered on behalf of about 70 countries at the adoption sessions of the Committee.
Member States adopted language that acknowledged the impact of Covid-19 on increased levels of violence, CEFM and ensured coordinated and strong responses in responding to the sexual and reproductive health needs and rights of women and girls specifically during the pandemic. The resolution addressing the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls makes fundamental calls for Governments to ensure women and girls’ access to justice, SRHR and comprehensive sexuality education, while recognising Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) as the most prevalent and least visible form of violence against women across all social strata across the world.